To honor the service and show appreciation of area veterans and active duty military, a free Veteran’s Day Breakfast will be offered Monday, Nov. 11, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Brainerd American Legion located at 708 Front Street.
The breakfast will feature a presentation by 40-year-old Army veteran, husband and father Scott Hall of Baxter who has battled post-traumatic stress disorder ever since his tour of duty in Afghanistan ended. Hall will speak about veterans’ suicide, mental health, PTSD, anxiety and how veterans who need help can find resources.
Manager of the Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Brainerd, Hall was part of the 367th Engineer Battalion which provided support to combat units through food service, supply, maintenance, personnel and a construction platoon. He was in Afghanistan from May 2004 until May 2005 and needed help dealing with his time there so he completed the Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program for PTSD recovery in St. Cloud.
Also included in the breakfast’s program will be the national anthem, pledge of allegiance, a blessing by Todd Wooden, pastor of the 194th Tank Regiment, and brief comments by Smiles for Jake and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center representatives. Following the breakfast, a bus will provide free transportation from the Legion to Brainerd High School for their Veteran’s program which begins at 9:30 a.m.
The number of veterans who die by suicide has gone from 22 a day to 17 per day in the latest Veterans Affairs report. Smiles for Jake supports the men and women in our military and our veteran population. “Smiles for Jake looks at all demographics of the population to help provide resources and uplift to decrease the overall suicide rate” said Eryk Haapajoki, a Smile Advocate with Smiles for Jake.
CRMC has made improving mental health of the residents it serves a priority with the goal of decreasing the number of adults who report poor mental health. CRMC is co-sponsoring the breakfast as one of the many community organizations working together to improve mental health in Crow Wing County. “CRMC is committed to supporting the brave men and women of who fought for our freedoms,” said CRMC CEO Kyle Bauer. “This breakfast is a small way we can appreciate the sacrifices they made and show our gratitude.”
Co-sponsored by Smiles for Jake and CRMC, the breakfast is open to all area veteran’s and active duty military. Reservations are necessary by calling the Brainerd American Legion at 218-829-2249.